Blake, 1964 Hoop Team Join, Hall Thank Supporters
Updated: Sep 30, 2019
BY DAVE SHEA
The Ogdensburg Free Academy, St. Mary's Academy Athletic Hall of Fame held its second induction ceremony on Friday at the High School Auditorium. Athletes and teams from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s were honored including recognition of the performers who led the first wave of female Blue Devil athletes after the landmark Title IX Legislation by the United States Congress.
Individual athletes inducted were Jim Blake of OFA's Class of 1964, Kelley Geary, Lisa Boyer and Mae Ferguson of OFA's Class of 1975, Becky Skelly of OFA's Class of 1974, Dr. Bob Hentschel of OFA's Class of 1952, Joe Jones of OFA's Class of 1970, Bob LeBeau of OFA's Class of 1973 and Tom Lightfoot of OFA's Class of 1970 who attended St. Mary's from 1966-69.
Five OFA Basketball teams were enshrined:n the boys teams of 1970, 1971 and 1964 and the girls teams of 1974 and 1975.
The late Jim Pinkerton, a graduate of the SMA Class of 1965, joined the hall as one of OFA's most outstanding coaches ever and honored as contributors to athletics in Ogdensburg were Steve LaRose of the OFA Class of 1978 and Dave Shea of the SMA Class of 1967.
This is the first of a series of stories on the inductees.
Jim Blake of the Class of 1964 was enshrined twice on Friday as an athlete and as a member of the OFA Boys Basketball team of 1964, He was an outstanding performer in basketball, baseball and football and one of a few players started in four years of varsity basketball.
He was a three-year starter in football at fullback and linebacker and was Co-Captain and MVP in 1963.
In basketball he was a four-year varsity starter and co-captain in his junior and senior years. He was the Most Improved Player in 1961 and the Top Foul Shooter in 1961 and 1962, led the team in scoring in 1963 and led the team in assists in 1964. He earned All-Northern League Honorable Mention in 1961 and 1962 and was a Second Team All-Star in 1963 and 1964.
In baseball he was a two-year starter as a catcher and had the most RBIs in 1963 and the highest batting average in 1963 and 1964.
He attended the Manlius School in 1965 and lettered in football and baseball and went on to West Point where played varsity football in 1966 and 1967 and graduated in 1969.
In his military career he served as an Army Officer around the world and taught Military and US History from 1984-1992 and served as Associate Dean at West Point.
He retired as Lieutenant Colonel in 1993 and was an Executive with the West Point Association of graduates from 1993-2009.
"I am truly honored tonight and reflect back often on athletics at OFA. I had God Given talent and parents who always encouraged me to do your best for your teammates. I had great coaches at OFA. Bill Plimpton, Bill Powers and Burr Reeves in football. Slim Elliott in basketball and Ben Cordwell in baseball," said Blake at his induction."
"They trained me and prepared me to be competitive and I want to thank them and my friends and teammates for their support."
1964 OFA Boys Basketball:
Blake also spoke for his teammates on The Blue Devils 1964 basketball team which were 20-2 Northern League Regular Season and Playoff Champs. They were also Section 10 Overall Champs [Class A-B] and were the last hoops team Slim Elliott coached.
Mike Langstaff and Jim Blake were the Co-Captains, Ed Mitchell was First Team All-Northern honors and Jim Blake made the Second Team.
After 55 years ago the team chemistry of the squad was still very powerful with a huge contingent of the squad filling the stage of the auditorium which also served as their home court at that time.
"It was 55 years ago I have fond memories of that team. We had several players back from the 1963 team which won the Northern League but lost to Tupper Lake in the playoffs at Appleton Arena. He had some good players move up the JV and six players from that years JVs moved up and played in the playoffs" said Blake.
"We had such great community support with big crowds supporting us all of the day and we had great stories in the newspaper. During the season we also had five closed door scrimmages with St. Mary's which really helped us."
Members of the team were: Sam LaMacchia, Mike Langstaff, John O'Connor, Larry Dominie, Ron Male, Bill Sherman, Vic Amo, Ken Patterson, Dick Garvey, Bob Garvey, Mike Mason, Doug LaVigne and manager Norm Cutway. JVs moving up for the playoffs were: Jon Bateman, Skip Wright, John Douglas, Tom Valley, Tim St. Andrews and Dave Montgomery.
One of the deceased members of the team, Bob Garvey, was represented on stage by his widow Sharron Garvey and their daughter Jackie.